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Future of Vancouver Lake–Important

Below is a note to the rowing community from Alan Stewart, the head of Vancouver Lake Crew regarding the future of Vancouver Lake.

There is a small group of us trying to save Vancouver Lake for future generations and continued recreational opportunities.  The lake is dying and going downhill very quickly.  This is a man made death due to the diking and infill of wetlands for industrial use, effectively blocking the flow of water from the Columbia River into the lake which historically flushed the lake during freshets.  Instead of the lake being flushed out regularly, it is now infilling and being polluted by local streams carrying fertilizers, chemicals, sedimentation, etc. Within the past 2 years, we have see an infestation of milfoil which is quickly choking out the lake. 

The Komen Row for the Cure which was scheduled for Saturday July 28, was cancelled due to a blue/green algae bloom.  Vancouver Lake Park, and the lake is one of the favorite rowing venues in the country due to easy access, a wonderful park with plenty of space, excellent viewing of the entire race course, an idyllic setting in the country while still being close in to the city with plenty of available hotels and restaurants.  We cannot afford to lose this asset. 

The options to save the lake are limited, and the first step in doing so is to make the current flushing channel actually do the job for which it was intended.  The first step in saving the lake would require widening the flushing channel to 1000 feet.  But before this can even be considered, a hydrodynamic study needs to be done to determine the effect of this proposal.  The immediate problem we face is that the Port of Vancouver intends to build a berm along the edge of the flushing channel as a sound barrier between future industrial development and lands immediately to the north (across from the park) that is now a bird sanctuary for Sandhill Cranes migrating from Alaska.  If time and monies are invested to build this berm, the chances of ever widening the flushing channel are nil to none.

The Port just released their SEPA comment period for their proposed sound proof berm just south of the Flushing Channel (and another project).  I’ve attached the link.  Comments are due by 5PM, August 02, 2018.

We need to respond to this proposal in mass.  I ask that this be sent to all the coaches in the northwest and that they send it to all their members, kids and parents alike and anyone remotely connected to rowing in or out of the region so that they can respond to the request for comments.  We need as many individual responses as humanly possible sent to the Port of Vancouver.  A sample letter is linked here

It is imperative that they get comments back to the Port by August 1st.  The deadline is August 2nd, but that is the day of their hearing on this matter.  Also, please copy all of the government officials at the bottom of the sample letter.

Thanks very much,